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Zimbabwe Police Vow to Stop Opposition Rally


Zimbabwe police say they will break up an opposition rally planned for Sunday, which they say, would violate the government ban on protests.

National police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told reporters Saturday that police are prepared to deal with any one who defies the government ban.

The coalition of opposition and civic groups which organized Sunday's meeting in the Harare suburb of Highfield has called it a prayer rally.

But Bvudzijena says police have received information indicating members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had been hiring and arming youths to carry out violent protests throughout the country.

He displayed a machete to reporters, saying it was one of the weapons being handed out by the MDC.

Late last month, the government imposed a three-month ban on all demonstrations in parts of Harare, following clashes between police and opposition supporters.

The Zimbabwean government is facing a new surge of dissent. Police arrested more than 80 people in five cities last month in a series of protests organized by an opposition group.

Meanwhile, the nation's economic crisis grows deeper. Official data released Friday showed Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate has climbed to a new all-time high, 1,730 percent.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.